Wilders’ party behind in Netherlands exit polls

According to initial results, the Dutch PM Rutte's VVD Party bagged 31 seats in the next 150-seat parliament, forcing far-right Geert Wilders into second place.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders of the PVV party leaves a polling station after voting in the Dutch general election in The Hague, Netherlands, March 15, 2017.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte's VVD Party won the most seats in parliamentary elections on Wednesday, forcing far-right Geert Wilders into second place, according to a first exit poll published by national broadcaster NOS.

The VVD Party bagged 31 seats in the next 150-seat parliament while Wilders' Freedom Party returned with 19 seats.

The Christian Democratic Appeal and the Democracy party D66 also grabbed 19 seats each, according to the poll based on interviews with voters. 

Actual results are expected by midnight local time.


Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders of the PVV party votes in the general election in The Hague, Netherlands, March 15, 2017. (Reuters)

Rutte appeared to have got a last-minute boost from a diplomatic row with Turkey after Dutch authorities stopped Ankara’s ministers from holding rallies with Turkish expatriates in Rotterdam. 

The turnout is forecast at 81 percent against 74.6 percent in the last election in 2012, according to NOS.

Dutch proportional representation means up to 15 parties could win a parliamentary seat and it could take months for Rutte to build a coalition.

Rutte had called the vote a European quarter-final before a French semi-final and German final, and warned voters that a victory for Wilders would be "the wrong sort of populism winning the day".

Far-right French politician Marine Le Pen is set to make the second-round run-off of France's presidential election in May.

In September's federal election in Germany, the right-wing, eurosceptic Alternative for Germany is likely to enter the national parliament for the first time.

Source: 
TRTWorld, Reuters